Calvert Board Formally Opposes Election Bill

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Calvert Board Formally Opposes Election Bill

Annapolis, MD - 4/3/2013

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By Marty Madden

Delegate Mark Fisher
Delegate Mark Fisher

The Calvert County Commissioners have formally written to state lawmakers indicating opposition to a Maryland General Assembly bill that would change the way future boards will be elected.

The measure, Senate Bill (SB) 729, passed unanimously in the upper chamber and will be considered by the House Environmental Matters Committee Thursday, April 4 at a public hearing in Annapolis. The bill is sponsored by Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. [D-District 27] and Senator Roy Dyson [District 29].

In a letter dated March 28 and signed by all five county commissioners, the board states it “is not in support” of SB 729 “due to the fact that no agreement for a change in the current methodology of electing commissioners was discussed or agreed upon between the Southern Maryland Delegation to the General Assembly and this board.”

The commissioners told the lawmakers the bill “has not received due process of debate on the local level.”

A synopsis of SB 729 states it would require “the specified county commissioners be residents of and represent specified election districts; requiring that other county commissioners be residents of the county at-large; requiring that each candidate for the office of county commissioner specify when filing a certificate of candidacy-specified information.”

The bill was submitted after a majority of the county commissioners opted to discard a plan to divide Calvert into five election districts, with each district represented by a commissioner. That modification had been recommended by a citizens committee and was originally accepted by a majority of the commissioners.

On Nov. 13, during a meeting between the commissioners and the Calvert County Delegation to Annapolis, Commissioner Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark [R], who was then serving as board president, announced the commissioners had voted 4-to-1 to withdraw its support for the five-district plan.

Miller was clearly piqued by the announcement and indicated perhaps the recommendation for commissioner election legislation could come from some other group. That prompted a reaction from House Minority Leader Anthony J. “Tony” O’Donnell [R-District 29-C), who indicated he supported the commissioners’ authority to withdraw their original recommendation.

The bill is opposed by O’Donnell and stated Delegate Mark N. Fisher [R-District 27B].

"Senators Mike Miller and Roy Dyson are the architects of the most gerrymandered state in the United States,” stated Fisher. “Now they intend to bully Calvert County.  Miller and Dyson's manipulation of the election process in Maryland has resulted in their attack on the Second Amendment, the largest gas tax increase in Maryland's history and income tax increases on working families and retirees.  The only election process Miller and Dyson understand is bullying and tyranny."

A call to Dyson regarding the bill and Fisher’s remarks had not been returned as this story was filed.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com



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